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An evening walk and a country pub

August 19, 2012
Paths along corn fields

Path along a corn field near Blockley

The British are obsessed with the weather. I can say this as a British person. When I lived in Saudi Arabia when it was ‘hot’ or ‘hotter’, British expats still managed to comment on it. The other truism is that Brits long for sunshine but if there are a couple of days when the temperature rises, the news advises people to stay indoors and drink plenty of fluids, we all start saying how ‘muggy’ it is and long for rain. One thing’s for sure, the normal English summer i.e. a bit cloudy and overcast, is perfect walking weather.  So on a hot, sunny day when we’d all spent a couple of hours going round Hidcote, we decided to do an easier walk from the Pathfinder book and start it later in the afternoon.

Blockley village

The shop and charming cafe at Blockley next to St Peter & St Paul church

The village centre of Blockey is a no-through road and there is little parking. This probably accounts for the lack of souvenir shops and tourists.

Cottage and spring in Blockley

A cottage on the main street and the spring

We parked by the village shop and café (passing the latter a bit wistfully) and were the only pedestrians on most of our way through the main street. Passing a gushing spring, we turned up a lane and, after oggling a fantastic house with a stream and lake, took the steepish track into the woods which turned into a farm track through corn fields.

Poppies among corn

Poppies in the corn

Somehow we missed the straight on bit of the track, went down the side of a field and clambered through brambles to reach the short section of path through a copse. It would be the day I decided to wear shorts!  If you do this walk, pay attention and don’t just keep wandering along as we did.  Rejoining open fields dotted with poppies, the sun started to lower and the light made everything look golden.

Patterns on a tree

White and yellow carpet one field, leaves throw patterns on a tree trunk

Crossing a road and finding the welcome shade of Norcombe wood, the path continued downhill. Strange bird noises (large crows?) echoed from unseen depths of green.  My older teen revealed blisters on her feet (wellies with no socks!) and walked barefoot for the rest of the way (including through some oozy mud).

Wildflowers in a corn field

Wild flowers in a corn field

The promised gate to a field appeared in view. The forlorn exclamation from my sister meant only one thing. Cows? No worse. The sign on the gate said ‘BULL IN FIELD’. There was no way I was going back up that forest path. Looking left and right I strode purposefully up the field, diagonally upwards as instructed. There was a clutch of young bovines over of the left but they took no notice of us. Heiffers or bullocks, I couldn’t say.

I think we chose the wrong stile but, no matter, it took us through one last glorious corn field back into the village.

Horse and Groom garden with view of sheep and chicken run

Horse and Groom garden with view of sheep and chicken run

Villagers were just arriving to play bowls on the bowling green in the fading early evening light. I would call this walk of 4 1/2 miles (7.25 km) a ramble rather than a hike. We did it easily in the two hours predicted.  Perfect for a walk on a summer’s evening with some expansive views of the rolling Gloucestershire countryside.  It’s walk 5, Blockley and Norcombe wood in the Pathfinder Guide Cotswold walks.

We drove for about 10 minutes to neighbouring Bourton on the Hill to the Horse and Groom. This is an absolute gem of a country pub, with a short, blackboard menu changing daily, offering hearty food made with local, seasonal produce. We sat in the garden, next to a field of sheep and the Horse and Groom veg patch and chicken run. The wine list was interesting, plus there were guest ales and locally brewed lager and wheat beer. Home-made elderflower cordial (diluted with local spring water) refreshed our walking thirst. A summer day to remember.

Other walks from the same book we’ve done this summer are Bibury and Sapperton. What weather do you prefer for hiking?

  1. August 19, 2012 4:07 pm

    Beautiful pictures Sally, just wonderful to see a bit of the English countryside:)

  2. August 19, 2012 4:36 pm

    Looks like the perfect lens for close nature shots. Love those poppies and the corn. Gorgeous

  3. August 19, 2012 6:04 pm

    Loved this! It was just like taking a wonderful walk myself! Thanks 🙂

  4. August 19, 2012 6:47 pm

    i found this page when Kate tweeted it and i am so glad i came over, what a beautiful walk and what a gorgeous page.. c

  5. Jane permalink
    August 20, 2012 11:49 am

    I could hear your voice as I was reading, Sally. It made me smile…and I love your photos.x


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